Infovis, design, and climate change.

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Created for my MFA thesis, Here | Now | Look | See: Information visualizations of recent climate records in Alberta is a research project that explores methods for designing information visualizations about complex topics like climate change. The visualizations feature a dataset provided by Dr. Stefan W. Kienzle, Associate Professor of Hydrology and GIS at the University of Lethbridge, made up of nearly 5 million observed climate records between 1950 and 2010 for 6,834 locations across Alberta. 

The design of the visualizations focused on three areas of consideration:

  1. Improve the viewer’s ability to decode the visual representations of the data through narrative structure.
  2. Provide holistic comprehension of the data, merging scientific explanation with contextual significance and relatability.
  3. Minimize biases in how the data is presented and viewed through neutral tone and design.

The main narrative in Here | Now | Look | See is based on breaking down the meaning of each of these keywords (here, now, look, and see) in connection with the climate data. Each stage of the narrative provides information that the audience carries forward to the next, allowing for the totality of information to be complex, but the delivery to be incremental, building comprehension gradually. Along with creating visualizations of Dr. Kienzle's climate data, supplementary visualizations of related data provide additional information and context to create a more comprehensive narrative.
 

Explore the Visualizations


Toolkit:

Visualizations created with Processing

The mapping functionality with the Unfolding Library for Processing

Map tiles by Stamen Design, under CC BY 3.0. Map data by OpenStreetMap, under ODbL.


For project support and mentorship, HUGE thank-yous to:

My supervisor, Leanne Elias

Graduate committee members Dana Cooley, Emily Luce, and Daniela Sirbu

My collaborative partner Dr. Stefan Kienzle

Plinth artists Glen MacKinnon and Tony

Mom, Dad, and Jess